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Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)/Unborn Child
Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) occurs in infants born to women who
drink heavily during pregnancy. Signs of this syndrome include mental
retardation, poor motor coordination, hyperactivity, facial abnormalities and
malformation of organ systems. The overall incidence of FAS in advanced
industrial societies is 1 in every 750 children. In South Africa, FAS is thought
to be by far the most common cause of mental retardation. A 1985 study found
that the incidence of FAS in Cape Town is 1 per 281 live births. When examining
disadvantaged communities, the incidence of foetal alcohol effects is likely to
be much higher. In recent investigation of women attending antenatal classes in
Cape Town, it was found that 26.4% of women drank at levels high enough to put
their babies at risk for FAS.
From Beeld, 22 Oct 2003 p 9.
The Northern-Cape town of De Aar proves the correlation between poverty and FAS. It has an occurrence of 10% of FAS for children of school going age.
In Gauteng the figure is 2%.
Symptoms of FAS
Causes of FAS
Last updated 04 January 2004
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